My dad, the M3 and me

popopopEven though he won’t turn 94 until October 26th, I thought Father’s Day would serve as an ideal time to talk about the image and reputation of my dad (AKA Pop-Pop).

Now happily settled in a Freehold, NJ, retirement home where he plays cards with fellow WWII veterans and wards off the advances of sexually aggressive female residents (I kid you not), Pop-Pop is, and always has been, a pistol.

He never attended college. His parents insisted, instead, that he work full-time to supplement the large family’s expenses (Note: Pop-Pop is one of five children, three of whom are still alive).

He worked a series of blue collar and warehousing jobs until he retired at the ripe, old age of 61.

From day one, he’s been an arch conservative.

Had there been a Tea Party and a Bill O’Reilly when I was growing up, Pop-Pop would have been strong supporters of each.

And, he’s never hidden his ‘America: love it or leave it’ image and reputation.

Case in point: I pick him up at Applewood (or, ‘The Happy Apple’ as Pop-Pop calls it) every Sunday night at 6pm sharp.

My assignment: take Pop-Pop to a local restaurant for dinner. Invariably, like a scene from the movie, Ground Hog Day, we will have the following conversation as we drive away in my red, BMW M3 convertible:

Pop-Pop: “Pretty snazzy car. You just get this?”
Me: “Nope. You ride in it every Sunday.”
Pop-Pop: “Oh yeah. Hey, do you have to drive so fast?”
Me: “l just want to demonstrate German engineering to you, Pop-Pop.”
Pop-Pop: “You mean the same German engineering that lost WWII?”

And so it goes.

I remember one especially telling moment long ago and far away. It occurred right after I’d gotten engaged.

My wife-to-be and I decided it was time for the four parents to meet. And, they did so at The Russian Tea Room.

Afterwards, my father-in-law to be pulled me aside and said, “Your dad wasn’t anything like what I expected. He’s one tough guy. Hate to say this, but the tough guys always die first.”

Nice, no?

Well, Pop-Pop has not only outlived the three, other parents he’s absolutely thriving. In addition to an-always packed social calendar, Pop-Pop swims 10 laps a day, walks two miles AND lifts weight. And, truth be told, he STILL scares the sh*t out of me (Note: Pop-Pop was an amateur boxer in his youth and packed a mighty wallop for a mighty long time).

I’m not sure how much longer Pop-Pop will keep on defying the odds, but it sure seems like he’s a good bet to hit the century mark. And he absolutely adores telling people his age (since most think he’s in his late 70′s).

Final note: whenever he’s asked the secret of longevity, Pop-Pop smiles and says, “Inhale and exhale. Try it. It’s easy.”

I think there’s another answer for his long life: Pop-Pop’s stayed true to his original image and reputation. He’s always held the same convictions and, right or wrong, it’s made him a strong, better person. Happy Father’s Day, Pop-Pop!

11 thoughts on “My dad, the M3 and me

  1. It has been my pleasure to know Mr. Cody for many years. Memories from the 70’s and 80’s include Waterskiing on Barnegat Bay…Arthur had no patience for “girly boys” who were not prepared for the physical pounding that Waterskiing would bring. Racquetball was also an “all in” sport…Arthur showed no mercy and I had to learn to deal with an ass kicking on the court…now I may have got him on the golf course… but no fool ever got Mr. C…no political correctness here…Fools were not tolerated. Get in Arthur’s way and you better be ready for a dress down. Thank you Sir Arthur for showing what it means to have testosterone running through your veins.

  2. I think your dad is GREAT. He calls me his ‘little passion flower.’

  3. Lance: My dad would deck you for calling him Arthur. He’s know to Artie or Art to one and all. Lay low for the next 10 years or so.

  4. Thanks, Mike. don’t i know it! And my kids are incredibly grateful. He’s the only grandparent they’ve really gotten to know well.

  5. I like your Dad. Except for the politics, he sounds a bit like mine was. He didn’t have much truck for “feelings” and was more interested in what a man could do with words or a set of Craftsman tools.

  6. Love the “secret of longevity” he offers. We should all abide.

    Happy Father’s Day to him…and you, Rep.